- Place one hand across your stomach.
- Take a deep breath in and then breathe out strongly, for a count of four.
- Check. Did your stomach contract and then expand? Or was it your chest that rose and fell with the breathing?
- Stress causes us to breathe shallowly at the top of the chest. So, do the opposite.
Suck your stomach in and expel as much air as possible, to a count of four.
- Count a second four and then for a third count of four, expand your stomach and suck as much air as far down as you can manage, Hold the breath in you for a count of four.
- Repeat the above process, a half a dozen times, at least.
- Check. Did you have any fizzy” or dizzy experience of any kind? If so, it was the excess hormones being oxidised out of your bloodstream. Deep breathing burns out excess hormones. Which is why exercise works. Focus on your breathing, especially if your time for exercise is scarce.
- Now switch attention to some minor task; while you continue breathing normally.
- After 3 minutes, put your hand on your stomach. Check whether it is moving in and out as you breathe. If it is, congratulations. You can shift your focus to resisting stress pressures and building emotional resilience, rather than stress reduction.
- If not, you have a choice. Allow this habit to maintain existing stress levels damaging your health. Or begin a three to four-week journey to consciously and persistently assert healthy deep, stomach, breathing as your new normality. Hormone addiction will send messages to your brain not to do this and therefore retain the addictive normality. You need ot fight this mental battle and win.
Habit is powerful and it takes both determination and persistence to break old habits and establish new ones. Be prepared for a battle of willpower akin to quitting smoking. Repeated failures are simply learnings on the way to recovery.
But what is that compared to where you could end up? With stress patterns growing stronger, discomfort turning into distress, leading to cardiovascular and heart problems, and early death?
I am after: